Oh, Copy

I left Colin at the tail of a lazy Saturday two weeks ago to have my first night at the China Post. Hilton was there when I arrived at 7:30, but the office was noticeably more empty than it had been every other time I’d been in the office. He showed me how to get onto the server, and then I was working at a professional newspaper.

Now sure, I was just reading stories off the wire, but no one’s going to read these after me? I can just make corrections willy-nilly, and these are just going to get skimmed one more time on the page? When do the other copy readers show up? One more guy at 8, and we’re it?!?

It gradually became clearer how only two people can do this job. Again, most of the stories going through are pulled off the AP wire or Reuters or what have you, so they were at least written by native English speakers and read by the wire copy readers. And there is no headline writing, but only a minimal amount of headline re-writing. And there is a whole team of people working production, so none of that has to distract copy. We’re just… reading.

Also, the policy is such that, on the occasion that the story comes from either a China Post reporter or the Taiwan Central News Service, I’m to “not think too hard.” I guess I can do that.

Saturdays are slow nights, so I was sent home at 10. And that’s all she wrote.


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